New York Giants co-owner John Mara approved of the team spending more money this offseason as it handed out more than $100 million in guaranteed money. But without saying general manager Dave Gettleman’s job is in jeopardy, Mara also made it clear what he expects in return.
“It’s time for us to start winning,” Mara told reporters via videoconference after the conclusion of the NFL owners meetings Wednesday. “That’s one of the reasons we spent the money we did.”
To that end, Mara and the Giants re-signed defensive lineman Leonard Williams and signed receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. All totaled, New York committed $110 million in guaranteed money to this trio. It represents a pivot for a team that had not spent big in free agency in recent years.
But Mara said the Giants wanted to surround quarterback Daniel Jones with more talent. Mostly, though, he wants to do something they haven’t done recently: win. The Giants have posted losing seasons in seven of the past eight years. After going 11-5 in 2016, New York has gone a combined 18-46. That ties them with the New York Jets for the NFL’s worst record during this span.
“It’s been a very difficult four- or five-year period for us,” Mara said. “I’m tired of the losing and having a postseason press conference trying to explain what went wrong and why I think we’re making progress.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but it’s been brutal the last few years. We’re looking forward to turning it around and not having to make excuses for why we haven’t done it.”
New York hopes Golladay, new tight end Kyle Rudolph ($12 million) and speedy receiver John Ross ($2.5 million) can help invigorate the offense. The return of running back Saquon Barkley should help, as well.
But the additional help means Jones needs to produce. He threw 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in 14 games last year. In two seasons, he has thrown a combined 35 touchdowns and 22 picks while the Giants are 8-18 with him as a starter. Mara said he wouldn’t put any benchmarks on Jones to measure his improvement — or to gauge his team’s desire to keep him around.
“We think the world of Daniel,” Mara said. “We want to see him take the next step. I don’t have any specific benchmarks other than, let’s win some more games. He’ll have a better team around him this year than he’s had in previous years, so we certainly expect him to take that next step. I want to see him continue to improve because I do think he has what it takes to be a long-term winner in this league.”
Mara pointed to coach Joe Judge as one reason he’s optimistic. New York finished 6-10 in Judge’s first year, a two-game improvement over 2019. But Mara said it’s “definitely” a better locker room than it has been in a while and that players believe in Judge.
“We won only six games last year, but I sensed just a different feeling from the players. They believe in his message. You could see that in team meetings. You could see that on the practice field and you could see in their effort. Now is the time to start winning more games,” he said.
That’s partly why Mara wasn’t about to put Gettleman on the so-called hot seat in March, despite a 15-33 record since his hiring in 2018.
“I’m not going to speculate on that right now,” Mara said. “Let’s see how the season plays out. I have more confidence going into this season than I’ve had in previous years. Hopefully the money that we spent and given the draft we expect to have, we’ll have a better team on the field this year.
Mara said the Giants didn’t plan on spending so much money this offseason, but said the right opportunities presented themselves with Golladay and Jackson. He said he talked to Golladay before he signed, trying to sell him on doing so, but added by that time the receiver’s mind was probably made up.
It also mattered that Golladay, 27, and Jackson, 25, were both young and played positions of need. Williams is 26.
“You can’t do that every year, but when the opportunity presents itself you have to seize it,” Mara said. “That’s what we did this year. We think it will pay off. We’re certainly not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like the direction that we’re going.”
One thing the spending did prevent: an extension for Barkley, who is coming off a torn ACL. But he’s entering his fourth season and New York can pick up his fifth-year option, so there’s time for an extension to happen. Mara said he does want to get one done eventually.
“We fully expect him to be as good as new,” Mara said. “If anybody is going to spend 100% of his efforts to rehab it will be Saquon. But we’re not in any hurry to do that particularly after the money we just spent. But I said it at the end of the season and I’ll say it again: We hope he’s going to be a Giant for life. At the appropriate time we’ll start those discussions.”
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says no physical limitations heading into camp
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes said he would have no physical limitations at Kansas City Chiefs training camp, which begins on Saturday for him with the start of a three-day camp for quarterbacks and rookies.
“I’ve been training, running, throwing, doing everything that I usually do,” said Mahomes, who had surgery for turf toe in February shortly after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “That’s what was so good about [offseason practice] and doing those things is that I tested it there and realized I was good, Then when I got back with [personal trainer Bobby Stroupe at his offseason home in Texas] I was able to do what I normally would do.”
The Chiefs initially hoped after the surgery that Mahomes would be able to participate for the final few days of offseason work. But Mahomes was ahead of schedule and a full participant for the entire four weeks of practice.
Mahomes said he and Stroupe worked on the surgically repaired toe during recent workouts.
“We definitely did a little bit more as far as mobility with the foot,” Mahomes said. “We always do stuff with the foot and ankle and knee but we did different stuff just to kind of keep that mobility going, strengthening that [area] that I kind of lost. Whenever you go in and have any surgery you’re going to lose some mobility.”
Most of the Chiefs veterans will report to camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph on Monday with practice beginning on Wednesday. Coach Andy Reid said defensive end Frank Clark would report on time and participate in practice.
Clark was recently charged in Los Angeles with felony weapons possession after a March arrest. Clark was also arrested in Los Angeles in June in a separate incident in which police allegedly saw a submachine gun in his car but that incident remains under investigation.
Tom Brady takes to social media to again show off all his Super Bowl rings
Tom Brady can’t get enough of showing off his hands laden with Super Bowl rings. It’s almost an annual rite of summer. He wins a Super Bowl in February. His team gets its rings sometime in the summer before training camp and Brady shows them off.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their Super Bowl rings on Thursday. They feature 319 diamonds, which include 15 karats of white diamonds and 14 karats of yellow diamonds, reflect the Super Bowl’s 31-9 final score. The twist-off removable top is a first of any Super Bowl ring. On the bottom of the removable top, laser-etched in gold, is the word “HISTORIC,” to commemorate the accomplishment.
“We wanted it to represent the camaraderie and sacrifice that our players and coaches experienced along the way,” co-owner Darcie Glazer-Kassewitz said Thursday. “This ring tells the story of that journey, it reflects the heart and soul of a team like none other before it. We know it will be an emotional touchstone for everyone involved for many, many years to come.”
Brady took to Twitter Friday for a classic “How it started vs. How it’s going.” Showing off the six rings he won with the New England Patriots and his newest bauble, it’s safe to say, as it usually is for TB12, that things are going just fine.
How it started vs How it’s going pic.twitter.com/wbzeQNgjnX
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) July 23, 2021
Cowboys’ Dak Prescott practices fully, wants to play in preseason
OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott keeps checking off the boxes in his return from a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle he suffered last October. On Thursday, he went through his first full practice, including 11-on-11 drills.
“There was no part of practice that I thought about my ankle, thought about any physical thing holding me back, to be honest with you,” Prescott said.
Next month, he will play in the preseason, although maybe not the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I definitely want to play. As far as giving you a number or quantity of how much I need to, I just want to obviously get back out there and get some reps before it’s real,” Prescott said. “Just to have a live defense coming at me, hopefully not take too many licks because I have great protection, but that’s part of the game, and I think it would obviously be great to get up from that, wipe it off and be just another process of burying the injury. I think it will be huge.”
Prescott is already looking forward to the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“What a special way to start this season off, not only for us but for this league, for fans: America’s Team playing obviously the reigning Super Bowl champions with the best quarterback to do it,” Prescott said. “I’m excited for them. I’m excited for the matchup against this defense, a very talented defense. I know our defense is very excited for that matchup against Tom and his guys. It’s going to be special, not only for us in Cowboys nation but for this NFL. It will be a great way to kick off the season and kick off our season the right way.”
Before he gets to that point, Prescott understands the work that needs to be done while the Cowboys are in Oxnard for training camp.
During the organized team activities and minicamp during the offseason, Prescott took part in every aspect of practice except team drills. McCarthy said Prescott made a “strong first impression,” during the first practice in which he completed 11 of 16 passes during team drills.
“He looks no different today than my experience with him in live training camp action last year. That’s the consistent comparable I think for everybody that’s been involved with his rehab,” McCarthy said. “As we go into padded practices, I think clearly that will be a threshold that he’ll get over, particularly with the bodies around him as we get into the team work. I watched him closely in the team work live (Thursday) by design. He didn’t flinch. It looked like he never left. So that’s a good point.”
Prescott has big expectations for the Cowboys’ offense that will not only have him healthy, but offensive linemen Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin, who combined to miss 36 games. Tight end Blake Jarwin suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game and is now 100%.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper is still working through offseason ankle surgery, but the Cowboys’ trio of Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb is considered among the best. And Prescott said, “I expect to see the best Zeke we’ve ever seen in the NFL,” when talking about Ezekiel Elliott.
“Stats, scoring, whatever you want to say, we want to be the best offense and we want to make sure we’re playing complementary football first and foremost with our defense and with our special teams,” Prescott said. “It’s just not about getting out there and throwing it 100 times. But it’s about playing complementary football, the run game, the pass game, the action game, and allowing the defense to get rest. Giving the defense a chance to get out there and to be their best when they’re out there as well. First and foremost, just be the best offense in the NFL.”
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